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If you cast, they will come

By DAVE ZALEWSKI

© St. Petersburg Times, published June 1, 2001


No matter what type of fishing or diving you do, they are as hot as the weather right now.

No matter what type of fishing or diving you do, they are as hot as the weather right now.

Bottom fishing for grouper and snapper has been exceptional as long as water depths of 80 feet are reached. There also are a lot of fish in the shallower depths, but a layer of slimy algae is covering the bottom. This slime coats baits and inhibits bites. If you notice slime on baits and sinkers, keep them about a foot off the bottom and you will get more bites.

Kingfish and large Spanish mackerel are continuing to pleasantly surprise offshore anglers and those willing to spend time trolling. We caught kingfish on consecutive days on a flat-line deployed while bottom fishing.

Tripletail have arrived and taken up residence near many of the crab trap buoys. It pays to keep a close watch when passing one of these buoys. Small mahi-mahi are showing up on a regular basis. Use a light-tackle outfit and a single hook with a small piece of bait or a small jig like those used to catch pompano.

Every fishing pier issued glowing reports this week, with tarpon being one of the highlights. Several were caught and released at Redington Long Pier, and those fishing at the Sunshine Skyway piers have been amazed by the large number of tarpon that can be seen in the water. Large Spanish mackerel are being caught with shrimp being the "secret" bait at the Skyway.

The early bird gets the worm holds especially true for flats fishermen this time of year. Trout, snook, redfish and cobia are in abundance and are best targeted at sunrise, if there is a fast-moving tide. Many snook have entered the beach swash channel and can be seen moving along the beach with the stingrays that are in abundance.

Some of the Redington Beach teenagers who fish the beach have come up with a catch and release ray fishery that is a lot of fun. They use light, 6-pound spinning outfits and a jighead to hook a ray. The ensuing run may be as much as 100 yards, and the overall fight has lasted as long as 20 minutes.

Fishing

(All phone numbers begin with 727 unless noted)

FISHING REGULATIONS: Snook season closes today..

UPCOMING: Miller's Marina Mega Money Tarpon Tournament, July 8-9, Miller's Marina, Boca Grande, (941) 964-8080.

UPCOMING: Honeymoon Island ninth annual Catch and Release Snook Tournament, June 9, Honeymoon Island, 469-5942.

UPCOMING: Boca Grande's World's Richest Tarpon Tournament, July 11-12, Boca Grande Pass, (941) 964-0568.

Seminars

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Bill Jackson's, 576-4169.

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, World Class Outfitters, (813) 968-3736.

SATURDAY: Fly-casting, Saltwater Fly Fisherman, 443-5000.

Boating

TONIGHT: USF Sail Club meeting, Bayboro Campus, 821-4840.

SATURDAY: Safe Boating Course, Clearwater, 462-6368.

SATURDAY: Commodore Cup, Windjammers, Clearwater, 447-6000.

SATURDAY: Free kayak demo, Sweetwater Kayaks, 906-0708.

SATURDAY: Free boat safety check at most BoatUS Marine Centers, locations participating in the area include: Clearwater, 573-2678; Sarasota, (941) 925-7361; Tarpon Springs, 939-1754.

Etc.

DAILY: Boyd Hill Nature Park tram tour; 893-7326.

SATURDAY: Guided hike, Brooker Creek Preserve; 943-4003.

-- Send information to Outdoors, P.O. Box 1121, St. Petersburg, FL 33731. All items must be typed and arrive 10 days before the event. Include event name, time, address and phone number.

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